A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this caper film isn't a tween-friendly romantic comedy. Although it's both romantic and comedic, it's also a cerebral spy thriller with so many twists that even some adults will be confused. And although the main characters are appealing and sympathetic, the truth is that they're ruthless corporate spies. They're often shown right before and after making love (bare-shouldered, and, in Clive Owen's case, bare-chested). They also discuss their sex life with innuendo and jokes about "legs in the air" and such. There isn't much violence aside from a humorous fight between two CEOs, but there's occasional strong language ("bulls--t," "goddamn," "d--k"), and drinking (all by adults).
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Mixing true romance and corporate espionage, director Tony Gilroy's DUPLICITY follows the dealings and double-dealings of former MI-6 agent Ray (Clive Owen) and his one-time lover, Claire (Julia Roberts), a former CIA spook. Each hatches a plan to use their spy skills in the private sector by working for rival consumer-goods corporations (think Procter & Gamble and Unilever) run by business nemeses Richard Garsik (Paul Giamatti) and Howard Tully (Tom Wilkinson). Ray and Claire's end game is to sell an extremely valuable top-secret formula to the highest bidder -- but, like the title implies, it's never clear who's gaming who.
Is it any good?
Reuniting Closer co-stars Roberts (who, as a mother of three, is incredibly picky about her roles now) and Owen is pure genius. They sizzle on both a cerebral and physical level, and their banter is a throwback to 1940s screwball comedies. Joining the irresistible pair are Giamatti and Wilkinson, both of whom are hilariously perfect as titans of industry. Giamatti's character is a charismatic, winner-take-all CEO, while Wilkinson's is a classy, Zen-master leader (he even writes with a fountain pen!).
Gilroy is clearly interested in America as a Corporatocracy. As in his debut film Michael Clayton, Gilroy again explores the evils that powerful companies are capable of -- but this time he also injects a heavy dose of romance and humor to balance out the suspense and drama. The result is an impressively crafted, topsy-turvy romantic thriller/drama/comedy that stars two pros at on-screen chemistry.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why caper/heist movies are so appealing, even when the characters are breaking the law. How do filmmakers get us rooting for the crooks?
How would you feel about people who do what the characters do in real life?
Do you think the idea of no-holds-barred corporate espionage is believable?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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